Should you animate a scene pose-to-pose or straight-ahead? How do you create a good breakdown drawing? When should you use an overshoot in your animation?
Toniko Pantoja, an animator, story artist, and director with a successful career working at studios like Dreamworks, Tonko House, Cartoon Network, and Studio La Cachette, answers these questions and tons more in a new self-directed educational package designed to introduce aspiring animators, and anyone else interested in the art form, to hand-drawn animation.
His package titled, The String Bing Workshop: The Complete Introduction to 2D Animation, is based on his own experiences and notes that helped him learn the hand-drawn technique. The core of the program are the 12 principles of animation formulated by “The Nine Old Men,” the animators behind the Disney studio’s Golden Age animated features. It’s a foundational approach that is taught at many animation programs, including Calarts, from which Pantoja graduated in 2014.
According to Pantoja, the package doesn’t push any particular style, but makes a case for the importance of having classical animation skills that should work for any aesthetic or technical approach that the artist chooses to use. “Think of it as a ground zero course for hand-drawn animation,” Pantoja tells Cartoon Brew.
He admits that though many educational programs favor the Disney style, his focus is to make clear that basic principles can be used to created all kinds of unique productions. “I encourage the act of experimenting and discovery first and foremost,” he says.
The package is divided into four chapters ranging from body mechanics to dialogue and performance. In the animation exercises he provides, Pantoja not only explains the lessons, but includes process videos for many of them that show him animating the assignments from beginning to end. In addition to the lessons, Pantoja discusses animation terminology and explains how to read and use a timing chart. Project files are also included to reinforce the learned ideas in the over 25 hours of material.
Though initially designed for people who want to learn 2d animation for fun and for independent/personal projects, Pantoja believes anyone already within the animation industry can also benefit from it, especially digital 2d or vfx animators who have never had the chance to work in hand-drawn animation.
To get a small taste of the program, here is a short excerpt from the course about smears:
The entire course costs $400, though individual lessons are available for between $75-125. For information, visit https://gumroad.com/stringbing.